I already expressed I felt the interior of the GTO is one of the best in GM's stable, thanks 100 percent to the talented men and women at GM's Australian arm, Holden. They know how to throw together one heck of a cockpit. Nothing too over the top, just a comfortable, aesthetically pleasing, tactile place to drive. The color-coded gauges just adds that touch of "thoughtfulness" a lot of GM interiors have missed.

It seems that the GTO is getting cross-shopped with the Mustang GT, and it makes sense. It?s the only rear-wheel drive V-8 coupe to compare it to. Some of my interior pros and cons will pit the first musclecar against the first pony car.

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The GTO has a lot of passenger room. You can actually fit two adults in the back seats. It?s a little struggle to get back there, but once planted into the well-molded bucket seats, we don?t see too much to complain about. The front seats have a power-assisted rear access feature that puts a forward/backward button on the side of the seat to move them to allow access to the rear a little easier. There is a little storage compartment back there, but no cup holders. You shouldn?t be drinking in the back of a 400 horsepower monster anyway. You?ll spill it.

2005 Pontiac GTO AG

The dashboard and center stack is modern and does not dip into the regular GM parts bin since this car is all ?down under?. The standard six-disc 200-watt Blaupunkt audio system with 10 speakers is nothing like what is General?s standard fare. Same goes for the HVAC controls. It a nice, easy to use system. The storage console has an accessory power outlet and there are two cupholders. There is also a Driver Information Center (the sadly named ?DIC?) for fuel averages and trip computing. The color-coded stitching is another nice touch.

2005 Pontiac GTO AG

Driver and passenger seats have an eight-way power feature and are heavily bolstered to keep you in place. You fall into the seats and they seem to hug all around you. Materials are soft to the touch and there is a suede-like swatch of fabric that runs from door to door to break up the plastics.

2005 Pontiac GTO AG

U.S. regulations caused the Holden Monaro to go through one major change that is not apparent until you open the trunk: the gas tank has been repositioned to behind the rear seats, taking up valuable space. The Monaro?s tank was in the rear, a no-no for new cars in the U.S. The change shortens the GTO?s trunk space and removes any chance of a folding rear seat or trunk pass through. While the Mustang?s rear seats do not offer anywhere near the space the GTO does, it does have more cargo capacity.

2005 Pontiac GTO AG

The GTO offers one heck of an inviting interior and everything is standard (the only options are the six-speed manual and an enhanced appearance package). It?s a lesson to GM North America on how to do things: Make the driver think you care.

2005 Pontiac GTO: Day 1

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